As a photographer, you would know that a dependable source of energy is just as important for a successful photoshoot as your camera and drone. Power is essential whether you are shooting wedding pictures outside, working on an outdoor editorial shoot, or running a studio in an area that experiences frequent power outages. This is where a solar generator enters the picture!
Solar generators can do everything from charging your drone to powering on-set appliances. The best thing is that it can keep the power going even when the golden hour is over and the sun has set.
Continue reading to get more information about a solar-powered drone and how you can use a solar generator to have a solar-powered shoot.
What Is a Solar Generator?
A solar generator is basically a term referring to the combination of solar panels, a battery charger, a battery, and an inverter into a device that lets you capture, store, and supply energy from the sun.
Unlike a traditional generator, that’s usually powered by gas, diesel, or propane and includes a fuel tank, engine, and alternator, a solar generator doesn’t have any moving elements. They essentially comprise four components:
- Portable Solar Panels: To collect energy from the sun.
- Battery: For storing the energy collected by the solar panels.
- Charge Controller: For managing the amount of energy flowing into the battery.
- Solar Inverter: For converting the energy from the sun into consumable energy.
In simple words, a solar generator is basically a portable battery with photovoltaic panels to capture energy supplied by the sun.
Portable solar generators are a great source of power, whether you’re camping, on the road, or need electricity during a power outage. Based on your requirement and situation, you might want a solar generator with a number of outlets, especially in situations where you have plenty of power-consuming devices and appliances.
Solar generators usually have USB ports, 12-volt sockets, and AC outlets, allowing you to charge multiple devices. The best thing about having several charging options with your portable generator is that you can get the energy you require on your terms. For example, you can simply plug your drone into the USB port to charge it or connect an extension cable to the AC outlet to power a ring light.
How Do Solar Generators Operate?
A solar generator uses sunlight to produce electricity from sunlight and store it in a battery. Here are some more details regarding the process:
- Solar panels transform sunlight into DC electricity and supply it via the charge controller.
- The charge controller manages the voltage of the electricity before storing it. It ensures the battery receives the correct level of current.
- The battery stores all the solar power for delayed use.
- The inverter transforms the stored electricity from the battery to the AC power that most appliances and devices consume.
Benefits of Using Solar Generators for Drone Photography and Drone Filming
As mentioned earlier, solar generators provide an efficient and outstanding source of energy on the go. Ideal for outdoor shoots, they are even eco-friendly and compatible with portable solar panels that can be used to power and extend the charge of their generators outdoors.
Reliable, safe, and easy-to-use solar generators are always ready to accompany you on your photo shoot.
1. Easy, Quick, and Convenient Charging On-the-Go
With a portable solar generator, you can rest assured that your drones, cameras, and other equipment are going to be charged and ready for use wherever you’re filming in the world. BLUETTI’s generators support a vast range of electronic devices (as long as they don’t surpass the energy provided by the generator) which you can simply plug into one of the available ports and leave to charge.
When shooting outdoors, the BLUETTI solar generators pair with their portable solar panels to offer endless and efficient solar power to keep you going when off-the-grid. Solar energy is stored in the lithium battery to keep your photography gear charged, so you don’t need to worry about running out of power.
2. Easy and Safe to Use
The BLUETTI solar generators are the easiest and safest to use solar generators presently available.
The LiFePO4 batteries allow you to charge your photography equipment whenever and wherever you like safely. It is also extremely efficient and reliable to use.
Moreover, the generators don’t produce a lot of noise. In fact, they are almost silent, and there are no unnecessary fumes damaging the environment and the cast and crew members of the shoot.
3. Extremely Portable and Lightweight Design
When venturing or travelling out on location, you won’t want to be bogged down with extra weight. Thus, we have curated a range of generators that are portable, lightweight, and easy to move around. With a compact shape, deep, graspable handles, and a carry case designed particularly for generators, you will easily be able to carry a solar generator on all of your road trips, adventures, outings, and travel.
Keep in mind that it’s not just the generator that’s portable. As a matter of fact, you can fold and strap the solar panels as well and carry them around easily.
4. Free and Clean Energy
Solar energy is free, and there’s no cost to use it. It’s available in abundance, even at the farthest remote location. Thus, no matter where you are filming, you will have access to sunlight to power your photography gear.
For traditional generators, you need to buy expensive fuel. However, when you use solar generators, there’s no need to spend high amounts of money on them. While a solar generator might cost more initially, it will surely help you save money in the long run.
Solar generators are the most eco-friendly power solution you can get. Since they don’t consume fossil fuels, they don’t emit any harmful fumes into the environment. It’s going to help lower your carbon footprint. While regular generators produce dangerous gases such as carbon monoxide, solar generators don’t emit these gases.
5. Quiet Operation
Solar generators don’t have any moving parts or engines, and they work very quietly. There’s going to be no noise except the quiet buzzing of the inverter. This means you don’t have to worry about noise ruining your video as you’re filming with a drone.
The quietness of the solar generator makes it an ideal choice for wildlife photography, as it doesn’t scare the animals away.
6. Minimum Maintenance Requirements
As solar generators don’t have any moving parts, there’s no need to replace the mechanical components due to wear and tear. This also reduces the risk of damage to parts during the cleaning.
The lack of moving parts means there’s no need for oil or oil replacement. Thus, a solar generator requires minimal maintenance compared to conventional units. In addition, there will be no cost of oil or parts replacement, making it most cost-effective in terms of maintenance.
How to Pick the Best Solar Generator for Drone Filming?
When purchasing a solar generator for drone filming, you need to ensure you purchase the one that’s going to give you the energy you need to power your equipment. There are various indicators you need to consider. Researching the market with these key factors will help you choose the right generator for your requirements.
1. Rated Watts
Rated watts indicate the power the generator can supply without interruption. Check the wattage requirements of the devices you want the generator to run. The requirements of an electrical device will usually be mentioned on the device itself. You just need to ensure the generator’s running wattage is greater than the total value.
If you’re using plenty of photoshoot equipment, such as drones, cameras, fans, lights, and computers, or have to use them for long periods, you will need a generator with a higher capacity. On the other hand, if you just have to power a few smaller devices, such as a ring light, phone, and camera, for a brief period, a small solar generator will work for you.
The capacity of the generator help ensures it can run your photography equipment for the length of time you need. The indicator tells you how much constant power the solar generator can supply for 60 minutes with a complete charge. It even allows you to estimate the amount of power the generator can supply before requiring a recharge.
For instance, under ideal conditions, a 400-watt-hour generator can run a 50-watt for approximately 8 hours or two 100-watt devices for around two hours before the battery dies.
Remember that these calculations are only estimates, and the truth is you might not be able to utilize the maximum capacity. For example, the temperature can have a huge impact on the battery capacity. Multiply the total wattage of the photography equipment you need to run by the time you have to run them. Then choose a generator with a watt-hours capacity larger than the result.
3. Recharge Time
Recharge time gives you an idea of the time it takes to bring a solar generator from zero to a complete charge. The documentation provided by the manufacturer should give you an idea of the recharge time based on the generator’s charging speed and the specific power input from the solar panels. Note that this is mostly based on the maximum input of solar power that you cannot always expect.
Cloud cover is going to impact charging, and you will require direct sunlight to get optimum results. Thus, a generator that charges 10 hours with a 200-watt solar panel might need a couple of days to charge completely. Factor this in with the power requirements and capacity.
For instance, if you will use a solar generator to provide energy to cameras, lights, video drones, etc., make sure the charge rate and capacity are going to give you the energy you require during that time period. While a lot of models can supply power while charging, this will cause the charging time to rise, and you might be consuming energy faster than the battery can recharge.
Start Your Solar-Powered Shoot Today!
Now you have an idea of how sun rays can power your drone photography. The next step is to get the right equipment for your next shoot. Bluetti provides solar generators and other solar gear that could support taking your photography to the next level. Our solar generators come with a warranty. And we have a customer care team ready to answer any questions you may have about which of our products will benefit you best. Feel free to reach out to us.